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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Communication is Key - How to Critically Fail With Your Crowdfunded Project

I never expected to find myself in the position of a "Virtual Kickstarter Investigative Reporter". It just kind of landed in my lap as I looked at the projects I had supported, their track record for delivering in a timely fashion and a general failure for timely communication by those seeking funding, especially after the funds had been raised.

Something that stands out to me, especially after the number of late projects that I have had recently brought to my attention, is that frequent communication with backers is the key to keeping most folks happy.

I don't care if your project has a blog, a website, a forum - sending an update weekly via Kickstarter or Indiegogo goes a long way. Why force those that supported your project to seek you out? Message them direct.

I bitch and complain about late projects because as a community we are too quick to accept the idea that these (want to be) professionals can't produce in a timely fashion. That it's okay to be a year late or more in your estimated release date. Because, lets face it - creators are optimists and supporters are pessimists when it comes to timelines.

The truth is, those projects that have frequent updates are usually less obvious with their lateness. Or maybe I'm more forgiving with those that care enough to keep their supporters in the information loop (although I do find I am like the proverbial elephant, and extended silence followed by frequent updates will still have me focused on the extended silence).

The worst thing you can do as a creator / writer / publisher / whatever of a Kickstarter is fail to communicate with your supporters. That is your community. They are the ones you will be looking at to support your future projects. If you fail to engage them, if you fail to keep them informed, you will lose them. You will be remembered for your late project and not for a successful project.

Communication does not stop when funding ends. Some folks run their Kickstarters like a fucking pep rally, sending out daily updates, and then once they take your money you dont here a peep for a month.

Don't pile up the excuses either. After the first one, all we want to hear is "I fucked up and promise to do better." Really, we don't care why you are late. Broken toe, leaky roof, cat took a shit on your notes,   "Con Crud" (i fucking hate this lame ass fucking excuse with a passion!) we really don't give a shit. You fucked up, own up to it and move on. Generally speaking, we've run out of sympathy after the first excuse so don't waste our time.

Running a Kickstarter project is a lesson in community building, or at least, it should be. Treat your community fairly and with respect and you'll keep them. No one running a Kickstarter should think of this as "one and done", because almost all will want to put some other project out there at some point. This is your name, your reputation, why fuck it up because you fail to communicate?

4 comments:

  1. I know that blogs can thrive on controversy and outrage, but I DO appreciate the way you are helping those of us with crowd sourcing projects get it right and do it better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @John Adams - thanks :)

    Its funny, but the projects that folks bring to my attention aren't being brought to my attention because they are late (they all have been late) but because of the failure of the the folks behind the project to communicate with their supporters in a timely fashion.

    Lateness is forgiven much sooner than lack of communication.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is so freaking topical, as more and more Kickstarters ignore their customers during and - especially after - their kickstarters. >:|

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have been having some serious issues with some of the Kickstarters I have supported. Right now I calculate that I am about $150 out of products that are due to me.

    I am not so worried about the ones that are late and then keep updating me. It's the ones that for all intents and purposes took the money and ran.

    ReplyDelete

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